Elon Musk — the world’s richest man and Twitter’s new owner — expects Twitter to earn almost $10 billion in revenue from subscriptions by 2028, a projection that doubles the $5 billion in total revenue the platform made last year, according to a report from The New York Times.
In a pitch deck viewed by the Times, Musk gave investors a taste of what to expect under his ownership. This reportedly includes driving up Twitter Blue subscribers to 69 million by 2025 and more than doubling that number to 159 million by 2028. Launched last year, Twitter Blue is the service’s $2.99 / month subscription that gives users access to an “undo tweet” button, app customization, ad-free articles, and other exclusive features. Musk expects a huge growth in total Twitter users as well, growing from the 217 million users reported last year to 600 million Twitter users in 2025 and, eventually, 931 million in 2028.
The pitch deck also outlines plans for an unnamed subscription service outside of Blue, called “X,” which Musk expects to bring in nine million subscribers in 2023 and 104 million by 2028. Earlier this week, Musk hinted at charging governments and corporations a “slight cost” to use Twitter. Whatever subscription “X” may be, revenue from it and Blue combined is supposed to hit the $10 billion mark by 2028, making up a large fraction of the $26.4 billion in total revenue Musk thinks the service will reach that same year.
According to the Times, Twitter is supposed to make up the rest of its total projected revenue with ads, something that Musk predicts Twitter will earn about $12 billion through by 2028. Twitter has been reliant on advertising as its primary stream of revenue in the past, but Musk, who said in a now-deleted tweet that Twitter should remove ads for paid subscribers, wants ads to make up just 45 percent of Twitter’s total revenue.
Musk’s pitch deck reportedly includes plans to rake in $15 million from some sort of payments business as well, which he expects to grow to $1.3 billion by 2028. Twitter currently lets users tip creators, purchase Super Follows, as well as interact with limited shopping features that link users out to vendors’ websites to make purchases. With Musk being one of PayPal’s co-founders, however, he might see some room to expand.
Really cannot stress enough that Twitter has virtually no data to license; tweets copyrights belong to users. Elon would have to radically change the terms of service to resell tweets and there are huge revshare and fair use issues to contend with https://t.co/shZiPUfkGH pic.twitter.com/2KPZeYkva3— nilay patel (@reckless) May 6, 2022
The Times notes that Musk also expects Twitter to earn an unspecified portion of revenue through data licensing, a business that involves selling the millions of daily tweets on its platform to companies and developers that analyze the data for market insights or consumer trends. Last year, Twitter earned $572 million (PDF) in data licensing and “other revenue,” but it’s unclear how or if Musk plans on expanding this business. If Twitter were to resell individual tweets, our editor-in-chief Nilay Patel points out that Elon “would have to radically change the terms of service” of Twitter, not to mention face “huge revshare and fair use issues,” as the copyrights of tweets belong to the users who posted them.
Building out Twitter’s services will take some work, a likely factor behind Musk’s plans to hire 3,600 additional employees. The Times notes that Musk aims to have 11,072 employees by 2025, although the pitch deck reportedly shows Twitter’s number of employees increasing in 2022 and then dipping in 2023 prior to trending upwards again.